Newsletter Spring 2018

August 30, 2018 posted in Behind the Scenes


What do you think of when you hear the word Curry?  Does the image of a big pot of a protein swimming in lots of delicious rich gravy, served with rice and pappadams, come to your mind?  When a curry powder is made, it is basically a spice mix, just as Baharat, Chermoula and barbecue blends are spice mixes.  Don’t let yourself be restricted by preconceived ideas when you see a curry blend … use it to flavour a mayonnaise for salads, add it to your home-made vegetable soup,  or use it to season the chops on your barbecue. (Don’t forget to add salt!) You’ll love the discoveries that come your way when you open your mind to wider horizons.

Great Australian Curry

Speaking of curries, do you know about the Great Australian Curry? Throughout October and November, Australians are encouraged to host their own curry event, sharing a meal with family and friends and inviting guests to donate in order to provide a hand up to families living in poverty throughout Asia. With this hand up, families in need can build their own business and provide food, shelter and an education for their children. We at Herbie’s Spices are happy to be supporting this worthy cause, and it may appeal to you as well. For more information, see 


When we look back on the food scene of 2018, the one ingredient that will stand out will be turmeric, which is being touted as a wonder food that will keep us all alive and well forever. These health claims are based on the component curcumin which is believed to have anti-inflammatory and other properties. What is not mentioned so often is that there are two types of dried turmeric powder … Madras turmeric, which is a sunshine yellow powder best used for its mild flavour and colouring capabilities, with a curcumin content of around 3.5%; and Alleppey turmeric, a rich orange colour with an oilier feel (it will roll itself into little balls if you swirl some around in a bowl), an earthier flavour, and up to 6.5% curcumin content.  So, if you are looking for a health benefit, make sure you ask for the right one.  We advise against expecting miracles.  Use it in normal culinary applications, and don’t overdose!

Because of its robust flavour, Alleppey turmeric is our preferred one to use when we are making blends such as Chermoula and Persian spice mix.  While we’re on the subject of turmeric in your diet, if you’re looking for easy ways to include it, don’t forget our turmeric-rich blend called Tempero Baiano – not a common name, as it’s a South American blend.  There’s a great seafood stew recipe on the back, and we love to add it to our home-made soups.  You’ll also find Turmeric Chai and Turmeric Seafood Rub to enhance your healthy diet.

Herbie’s Ziplock Bags

Herbie’s has just had its twenty-first birthday … my, how the time has flown, and what good fun we have had!  In this current anti-plastic bag age, we are proud to say that, for all these years, our Herbie’s Spices retail carry bags have been paper.  The fact that our beautiful products are packed in a high-quality plastic zip-lock bag with low oxygen-transference is because it’s the very best way for you to store your spices to keep them at their best.  But they are not single-use bags: in our house, you’ll find Herbie’s zip-lock bags keeping buttons organized beside the sewing machine, different-sized screws tidily separated in the workshop, and rings and brooches neatly stored and easily found.  The empty bags are easy to wash, and you’ll find that, once you manage to prise up one corner of the label, it peels off easily.  Tell us how you use your empty Herbie’s bags!

Winter Box of Ideas

Did you enjoy the Winter Box of Ideas, and the way it expanded your repertoire of delicious warming meals?  The reasoning behind the regular Box of Ideas is that it can work like a spice club, a new one for every season, but without tying you in to an annual club subscription.  No product is ever repeated, so you can accumulate a wide range of spices by investing $25.00 four times a year.    Our pretty spring-green box for this season contains Barberries, Desert Oak Ground (an Australian native you may not have met before), Italian Herbs and the delicious new Kashmiri “Basaar” curry, to bring you salads, comfort foods and more to see you through spring, that most changeable of seasons.

Yemeni Hawaij Spice Blend

There are so many wonderful ways of combining spices in different parts of the world (see our South American Tempero Baiano, mentioned above), and we’ve had customers ask for a Yemeni Hawaij spice blend.  We’ve been happy to oblige, and this richly peppery spice mix is a hit as a seasoning for our winter lentil/vegetable stew, although more traditionally used with foods like fried chicken.  The main ingredients in the blend are black pepper, coriander, cumin and turmeric, with sparky elements of caraway, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves to give it life and balance.

Mexican Oregano

We’re also pleased to announce the arrival of true Mexican oregano.  Whilst our Australian-grown oregano has always been a perfectly adequate replacement, the Mexican has a different botanical name Poliomentha longiflora.  Now your Mexican cooking can be truly authentic!

The vanilla problems mentioned in previous newsletters continue to bother us.  Isn’t it great that we have discovered other ways to make our sweet foods interesting?  If you don’t have vanilla, use a little ground star anise, fennel pollen or ground cardamom seed to enrich your custards, ice creams and desserts.


Sometimes the number of spices on offer can be daunting.  There are just so many, and there are lots of names that aren’t familiar.  If you feel a bit overwhelmed by it all, or you know someone who feels that way, there’s a part of our user-friendly website that can really help.  On our home page, you will find, on the right hand side of your screen, “Herbie’s Q&A Videos – filmed in the USA”.  You’ll feel as though you are having a conversation with Herbie, as he answers all your questions.

Happy Spicing

Herbie and Liz

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